Design Project

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The primary assignment in 6.033 is the design project. This project is where the students get to design their own system, which is the primary objective of this course.

The design project requires you to develop a detailed system design to solve a real-world problem. This project will extend over most of the semester, and will be done in teams of three students, all of whom attend the same writing tutorial (with exceptions only for extenuating circumstances). The project will involve a prep assignment, a preliminary report, an oral presentation, a final report, and a peer review. The feedback we give on your preliminary report and presentation will aid in writing your final report.

Your design project will be done in teams of three. Real-world systems are not built individually; it's always a team effort. Part of the design project assignment is to learn to work productively and effectively in this setting. We will give you tools for doing so in the writing tutorials.

DP Teams

One goal of the 6.033 writing tutorials is to give you the tools necessary to complete the design project. Many tutorials involve a chance for you to do actual work on the project in class; thus, your teammates are required to be in the same writing tutorial as you. We will make no exceptions to this rule, except in the most extenuating circumstances.

We know that some students come into 6.033 having selected their own DP teammates. Though we try to honor your preferences, there are 400 students in 6.033. We also have to keep the enrollment roughly the same across each section, to make sure staff have similar workloads. As a result of all of this, we may not be able to put you in the same writing tutorial—and thus, on the same team—as your friends.

We will provide you with ample support throughout the class in collaborating with your team. For example, we will dedicate an entire tutorial to collaboration. Every semester, we assign many students teams at random; those teams perform just as well on the project as pre-formed teams do.

If you are having a problem with your team, please get in touch with a staff member. Your WRAP Instructor is the best point of contact, but you can also reach out to Dr. LaCurts, one of our Recitation Instructors, or any TA. The earlier we know about problems, the faster we can help you solve them. As a specific example: sometimes two teammates have trouble getting in touch with their third teammate. Please, please let us know about this quickly. You are not throwing your teammate under a bus, and no one will be unfairly penalized. In some cases, your teammate may be having difficulties outside of class, and this gives us an opportunity to help support them while also making sure the design project goes smoothly for everyone.

Assignment Details

The prep assignment for the design project will be graded by your WRAP Instructor and will receive a letter grade. The technical staff will also provide feedback to the class as a whole in response to some aspects of this assignment.

The preliminary report for the design project will be evaluated by one of our Recitation Instructors and your WRAP Instructor. Your WRAP Instructor will evaluate it according to the grading rubric and assign a letter grade. Your Recitation Instructor will evaluate the preliminary report to make sure your design is on the right track; you should incorporate their feedback into the presentation and report.

The presentation will be graded by one of our Recitation Instructors (the same one who evaluated your preliminary report). Your presentation should reflect the feedback you got on your preliminary report; feedback on your presentation should inform your final report. We will release guidelines for the presentation as the due date gets nearer, but in general, your presentation will focus on any changes you have made since the preliminary report, rather than re-capping the entire system.

The presentation will receive a grade of check, check+, or check-. A check+ will move your preliminary report grade up one letter, a check- will move it down one letter, and a check will not change it. (E.g., if you receive a B on the preliminary report, and a check+ on the presentation, your "preliminary report + presentation" grade is an A.)

The final report will also be graded by one of our Recitation Instructors—again, the same one who's been giving you feedback on the other deliverables—and will receive a letter grade.

The peer review will be graded by your WRAP Instructor, and will receive a letter grade.

Spec + Deliverables

Below are all DP deliverables and related material. All assignments are also linked to from the course calendar.



Writing Samples from Previous years

DP Preparation Assignment (relevant DP spec)

DP Preliminary Report (relevant DP spec)

DP Final Report (relevant DP spec)